Texas introduces body camera legislation and access exceptions

PoliceDebate over the necessity of police-worn body cameras across the United States has raged for several years now. The practice has become increasingly common among local police departments now, especially compared with a couple years ago when just a couple of departments pioneered pilot programs to see if they truly made a difference in officer and civilian behavior, complaints against the department, and more. Overwhelmingly, the results have been positive, with reports of officer use of force down double digit percentages and higher satisfaction with the department amongst citizens in their jurisdictions. [Read more…]

Texas considers out of state public records request ban

DeniedLast month, the Texas state legislature announced that it was considering a move that would give government agencies and other public bodies the legal right to ignore Freedom of Information Act, or public records, requests if they came from outside the state.  The restriction would apply to both businesses not based in Texas, as well as members of the public who simply weren’t citizens of the state. [Read more…]

Texas attorney general rules that oil train records are public

Train TracksAccording to the state attorney general, oil-train records that the Texas Department of Public Safety argued were exempt from public records law are, in fact, not.  Last week, the attorney general ruled that the records must be made available to any and all news organizations and public parties interested in them. [Read more…]

Records show DuPont workers were long exposed to lethal chemicals

ResearchIn the city of La Porte, TX, a DuPont chemical pesticide plant suffered a tragic accident last year.  On November 15, 2014, a catastrophic chemical release spontaneously killed four workers.  While the tragic event was reason enough for investigation, what a public records request by the Houston Chronicle reveals is incredibly disturbing as well. [Read more…]

Asbestos concerns cause drama at Kilgore College

PaperFor a community college with just under 6,000 students, Kilgore College is certainly making more news than the average school of its size.  In fact, more-so than ‘news’ the events occurring right now sound like something out of a movie.  From behind-the-back gossip, to accusations amongst board members, to student health and safety concerns, there’s a lot to keep up with.  The latest event, a bullet through the door of one of the college’s president’s critics, escalated things to a whole new level. [Read more…]